Has it really been 11 days since I’ve posted something? I swear I have a good reason. After the CDC recommended all Americans wear a homemade face mask or a scarf out, I have not stopped making and selling masks since April 1st. My neck and back are so sore from the hours upon hours I’ve been sewing.
I’ve made a shit ton of money, not going to lie. It didn’t start out like that. Originally I was going to make them and donate them to healthcare workers. I actually did donate several. But then Battelle had a breakthrough and could sanitize masks so they could be reused like 90+ times. After that announcement, I began to see less and less demand for those masks and more for homemade ones.
I gave away around 15 homemade masks then folks began to come out of the woodwork. People I went to high school with, co-workers and neighbors, everybody wanted a face mask made for them and their entire family. I’ve sent masks as far as Boston and as close as two doors down.
I charge $10 for the one size fits all and $18 for the face mask that comes in 4 different sizes. People have mostly been ordering the $18 mask. Yesterday, I was accused of price gouging, charging $18 per mask. This made me shake with anger, given what goes into the mask:
- The customer gets to select their fabric.
- I have to go out, get the fabric, wash and iron it.
- Between the ironing, cutting and sewing, each mask takes about an hour.
- Elastic is as rare as toilet paper so I pay $18 to have 10 yards shipped from eBay.
- This mask comes in 4 sizes, including kid sizes. It’s a better fit.
- I deliver to folks, porch pick-up or send it to people.
The Train Wreck
My craft room is a complete train wreck. Given that it’s a one-room schoolhouse, home office and now sweatshop, here is a view of it:
In total, I’ve made about 62 masks in 9 days. I don’t think I want to make any more masks. It’s so funny because I had received an email from Etsy, imploring seamstresses to get busy and add masks for sale. But then I got to thinking, why would I pay .20 to list each mask, share a percentage of the sale with Etsy then have to pay to ship it somewhere. All I had to do was post on Facebook that I make these things and the local demand is more than I can keep up with.
I’ve hired my husband to help me. I literally don’t pay him but it’s called a sweatshop for a reason, am I right? He’s in charge of ironing the long yards of fabric, pre-cut. I’m beginning to worry he’s going to start a union or something because he’s become awfully needy. First, he demanded a brand new ironing board since ours was stained, gross and probably pushing 15-years. Next, he slipped a water bottle in the cart at Lowe’s because he claimed his work would suffer without the proper amount of steam. What’s next? Paid time off?
I’ll end this post with a few of the masks I’ve made. What do you guys think? I think this evening is going to be a glass of wine, pajamas, the foam roller on my back.